10 Stunning Shots of Abandoned Places Around the World

From Bulgaria to Alaska to Namibia, these rare photos capture the eerie souls of places forgotten by time.

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Sand filling a house in Kolmanskop
Photo: Shutterstock

A Sinking Desert Town

Once the richest town in Africa, today Kolmanskop is sinking into the Namibian desert. The discovery of diamonds here around 100 years ago caused this remote place to undergo a boom, and in no time at all, an entire town emerged out of the sand. To visitors it must have had an almost decadent air. Not only was there a hospital, a power plant and a theatre, but also an ice factory and a swimming pool—all in the middle of the desert! 

Let these stunning travel photos inspire your wanderlust.

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The Aniva lighthouse
Photo: Shutterstock

A Japanese-Russian Lighthouse

Built by the Japanese on a small island between Japan and Russia, the Aniva lighthouse and its island went to the Russians after the Second World War. The seven-storey building has lain abandoned for years. Where once noisy diesel generators kept the machinery running, today there’s only the sound of waves pounding the rocks. 

Check out these essential tips for everyone planning a trip to Japan.

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The SS Ayrfield
Photo: Shutterstock

A Mangrove Ship

Weighing in at more than 1000 tons, the SS Ayrfield was due to be scrapped in Homebush Bay in Sydney in 1972, but that never happened. Shortly after the ship arrived, the breakers yard in the bay closed down. The Ayrfield has lain there at anchor ever since and is gradually being reclaimed by nature. The rusty remains of the hull are now home to a small mangrove forest. 

These are the world’s spookiest travel destinations.

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Buzludzha Monument
Photo: Shutterstock

A Bulgarian Communist Monument

The futuristic Buzludzha monument is sinking into the ice and snow. Once the opulent assembly hall of the Bulgarian Communist Party, it wasn’t in use for long. Just eight years after its inauguration came the fall of the Eastern bloc and with it the Communist regime.

Find out what the world’s most famous landmarks looked like under construction.

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Overgrown houses in Houtouwan
Photo: Joe Nafis/Shutterstock

A Chinese Fishing Village

Houtouwan on Shengshan Island was once home to around 2000 fishermen and their families. Today most of the people you meet in this Chinese village are tourists. The majority of the inhabitants left for the mainland in the early 90s. Reasons for the near total abandonment include problems with food delivery. 

Discover the country everyone wants to travel to.

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Anchors in the sand at Barril
Photo: Shutterstock

An Anchor Cemetery

Cemitério das Âncoras—the Anchor Graveyard on the beach at Barril in Portugal is a memorial to the tradition of bluefin tuna fishing off the Algarve. The anchors were used to fix giant nets down on the seabed. Nowadays the fish are very scarce and the 248 anchors are just a reminder of days gone by. 

Your jaw will drop at these amazing photos of the world’s most beautiful trees.

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Old buses in Sandon, B.C.
Photo: Max Lindenthaler/Shutterstock

A British Columbia Ghost Town

Canada has its fair share of deserted spots—take Sandon, B.C., for example. This Kootenay town was a business hub in the early 20th century before a flood caused residents to abandon it in 1955. Today, Sandon is notable as a home to decades-old, decommissioned Vancouver city buses, which sit in a vacant lot, awaiting potential refurbishment or total decay.

We’ve rounded up the most quirky roadside attractions across Canada.

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Overgrown Ferris wheel in Spreepark
Photo: Karsten Jung/Shutterstock

An Empty Amusement Park

Lying in the centre of Berlin but virtually forgotten: welcome to the Spreepark! In the former East Germany thousands of visitors enjoyed wandering around the fairground rides and stalls here. In those days it was known as Culture Park, and was the only amusement park in East Germany. Nearly 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the big wheel and carousels have long stood still. 

These abandoned amusement parks will give you the creeps.

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The abandoned Igloo Hotel
Photo: melissamn/Shutterstock

An Alaskan Resort

This resort has never seen a paying guest! The Igloo Hotel in Alaska in the USA was primarily meant to attract visitors from the nearby Denali National Park. However, the builder didn’t abide by official building regulations and also chose a location that was too remote. So the hotel was never completed. The half-finished building however, continues to defy wind and weather a half a century later. 

Forget fancy hotels—these are the gorgeous castles you can rent on Airbnb.

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Airplanes at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Photo: CrackerClips/Shutterstock

An Aircraft Graveyard

The world’s largest aircraft graveyard, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, can be found in the US Arizona Desert, where the low levels of rainfall and humidity help preserve the planes for scavenging parts, sale to other countries or even recommissioning in times of crisis. Not only aviation enthusiasts are able to come by for a look at the old B-52 bombers and other aircraft stored here, even the Russians are said to have the occasional look via satellite to keep count of the number of aircraft on display.

Next, check out more beautiful travel photos from around the world.

Originally Published in Readers Digest International Edition

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